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Long-term goal must be repatriation for refugees, Lebanese prelate says

June 29, 2016

Maronite Catholic Patriarch Bechara Rai has suggested that a long-term answer to the crisis of refugees in the Middle East should be helping them return to their native countries.

"We must find a just, global, and lasting peace for refugees, repatriate them, and help them rebuild their lives and businesses," the Lebanese prelate told an audience in New York. He observed that the refugee crisis cannot be addressed adequately until warfare is curbed in the region.

Speaking at the headquarters of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, Cardinal Rai reminded his audience that about half of the the people living in Lebanon today are refugees. The presence of so many people from other countries compromises the identity of Lebanon, he said. Moreover, the refugee camps have been fertile fields for recruiting by terrorist groups.

 
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